Max Nagl and Todd Waters are widely believed to be the Red Bull IceOne Factory Racing MXGP riders for the 2015 FIM Motocross World Championship. Rumoured approach to the Watson brothers, Nathan and Ben, soon to be made for MX2.
Gossip about Nagl accepting a two year deal with the Finnish crew surfaced as early as the Grand Prix of Sweden. Considering that Husqvarna presented their 2014 rider roster together as one unit it is likely that Martens will need to have his team for next season ready before an official announcement is made.
20-year-old Nathan Watson had impressed in two substitute rides on the works FC450 (the Brit was riding a modified stock version for the Dantec team in the UK) and caught the eye at the Finnish Grand Prix last week with 11th and 12th positions in the MXGP motos.
“Nathan has talent and technique and is applying it very well and I’m impressed and very happy,” said Team Manager Antti Pyrhonen. “I saw him as a rider with potential at the Dutch championship race when Tyla [Rattray] won both motos and when we had the chance to use him for Grand Prix due to our injuries then it was great to bring him onboard.”
16-year-old brother Ben is currently third in the European EMX250 series (the feeder championship to Grand Prix) and has two moto victories in his first attempt at the competition.
While the Watsons are just names touted with Husky in MX2 it seems the IceOne awning is full with Nagl and Waters (due back in the paddock for the Belgian Grand Prix at Lommel in two weeks after recovering from his broken leg).
Pyrhonen, who oversaw his MXGP team running new 2015 graphics in Finland, could not comment officially on the status of the team for next season but he did say: “I’m very happy with how the programme is developing for 2015.
“People have to remember that this is our first as a factory team and it is great that the top riders are now thinking about us and want to talk with us. It is a positive sign.
“We have budget for a full two rider factory programme but one idea we have is to enlist a supported rider,” he added.
“It is just a personal goal and opinion at the moment and this racer would not have factory backing but would be part of the team. Injuries are always present, we know this, and it would be good to have the best solution possible to be ready for these situations.”
It would be not unreasonable to think that there could still be a place for the elder Watson with IceOne if this third rider scheme comes to fruition. It means that the chances of a slot for Dean Ferris – the current other substitute for Tyla Rattray on the FC350 – are looking slim as the Australian hunts around for a factory Grand Prix ride for 2015.